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DIRTY SECRETS

If it’s the cleaning lady’s job to clean the house, why do we always pick up before she comes?

(Usually just before she comes, too, with one of the kids stalling her in the foyer as we scramble to de-clutter the upstairs.)

It would be one thing if we were motivated by conscience, believing it unfair to have her clean everything, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Are we worried she’ll realize we’re really just a family of slobs?

She can probably tell that already, thanks to dishes that occasionally end up under the bed and the collection of crumbs, coins and God-knows-what-it-is she regularly unearths from beneath the sofa cushions.

Do we think she’ll tell the H.O.A. how much more disgusting our house is than, say, the neighbor’s down the street?

(It is, but only because they have no kids.)

Or do we just not want anyone — even the cleaning lady — to find out how much of our lifestyle is an illusion, and that the only parts we have the energy to maintain week in, week out, are the ones that other people see?

(And if this is the case, is it a valid reason to switch to a cleaning service that relies on a small, anonymous army that moves too quickly for any one that’s a part of it to form any kind of impression of what a stye the house usually is?)

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